For the pitmasters at Smokin' Jonny's BBQ, a successful barbecue is a three-step process. First, they must select the right meat, whether it be pulled pork, tender ribs, or brisket. Once they've rubbed it with a blend of herbs and spices, the cooks then need to pick the right wood—such as hickory or applewood—over which to slow-smoke it. Lastly, they whip up rubs and marinades, whose secret recipes are known only to them and kitchen spies disguised as six-foot-tall spatulas. Those final touches accentuate the already smoky flavor of Smokin' Jonny's meats, readying them to pair with timeless southern sides such as fried cornbread.
Servers hoisting skewers circulate continuously through Samba Brazilian Steakhouse, pausing tableside to carve mesquite-grilled morsels of brazilian sausage, bacon-wrapped chicken, and sirloin steak. This is hardly an unusual sight at Brazil's famous all-you-can-eat churrascarias—until you see the ocean views backdropping through the 180-degree wall of glass in Samba Brazilian Steakhouse's Redondo dining room. This chic perspective on tropicalia dominates all aspects of the steakhouse. Clusters of mod white couches stand out against glowing orange walls, which contain plenty of nooks for groups to squeeze into. Brunch hours offer a consortium of all-you-can-eat meats such as marinated beef and pork. The main course is complemented by unlimited trips to the salad- and Brazilian side dish-buffet, as well as your choice of mimosas, champagne, and sangria. On Thursday–Saturday, a chorus of smooth-limbed showgirls catalyze the party with a slight assist from the caipirinha bar's more than 20 versions of Brazil's national cocktail.
A mere block from the ocean, the culinary savants at The Grillish conduct harmonious seafood symphonies with a bevy of fresh and healthy ingredients. Diners can dig for fried breaded oysters in a warm basket or choose tender morsels from a helping of mixed ceviche. Light fare includes handheld comestibles such as the crab and shrimp grillwich finished with West Coast trimmings such as avocado and alfalfa sprouts, and the Cajun white ruffy wrap stuffed to bursting with cabbage, tomatoes, and fish before being doused with house sauce. A platter of skewers takes center stage among entree options with a choice of grilled salmon, barramundi, or scallop and shrimp and accouterments including coleslaw, rice, or fries, and Cajun or butter sauce on the side to facilitate avant-garde recreations of The Little Mermaid.
The meat connoisseurs at Libra Brazilian Steakhouse know showmanship is one of the primary draws of churrascaria-style dining. In this spirit, the chefs cook succulent hunks of meat on giant skewers over an open flame. And once it’s ready, their servers distribute the tender, freshly flamed meat throughout the dining area, pausing tableside to carve off slices directly onto plates.
Presentation aside, Libra Brazilian Steakhouse backs up its bravado with quality meats. The chefs use only 100% Black Angus beef and refuse to accept any meat containing hormones or antibiotics. Additionally, the culinary artists cook more than 30 hot, made-from-scratch sides as well as housemade desserts. And to top it off, the steak-house staff curates and recommends numerous international wines.
The Grill on the Alley recaptures a bygone era; one of crisp white linens, impeccable service, and steaks as big as your head. Inspired by the steakhouses of San Francisco and New York, The Grill’s founders replicated the American tradition in L.A. The first location, which opened in Beverly Hills in 1984, still sits mere steps from Rodeo Drive (four Californian branches now exist, along with ones in Chicago, Dallas, and Aventura, Florida). Though its menu might match Rodeo in sophistication—order the 8-ounce filet mignon, ahi tuna, or a sip of spirits for proof—the staff works hard to maintain a distinctly welcoming, unpretentious atmosphere. And if a constant stream of good press is any indication, they succeed.
The white tablecloths and high-backed cream-colored banquettes found at Shilo’s Kosher Steakhouse, are a rarity on this stretch of strip malls, chain stores and more casual restaurants along Pico Boulevard in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. This high-end kosher eatery has made its name by combining a steakhouse menu with religious dietary laws and refuses to compromise on either end. There are salads, seafood entrées and pastas here to sample, but the stars of the show are the steak cuts, each wet-aged in house for three to four weeks and backed by one of Shiloh’s steak sauces. Those looking for quality at a lower price would do well to check out Shiloh’s Kobe Burger, coupled with the New York Onion Rings.